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Inside the business of 'Kustoo,' a sneaker influencer with over 1 million subscribers whose videos include rare shoe unboxings and a tour of Michael Jordan's house

Jacques
  • Jacques "Kustoo" Slade is easily one of the most influential people in the sneaker world.
  • The content creator has shows at Complex and NBC Sports and has over 1.23 million subscribers on his YouTube channel.
  • Slade broke down how three main channels of revenue fuel his business and revealed how he turned a passion for sneakers into a full-fledged career. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
If you like watching content about sneakers, odds are you've heard of Jacques "Kustoo" Slade. The YouTuber, host, and music and content creator is easily one of the most influential people in the sneaker world.
With shows on Complex, NBC Sports, and his own YouTube channel with over 1.23 million subscribers, Slade has built an influencer empire based on the world of sneakers. Although Slade and sneakers are essentially synonymous these days, the influencer says it was his love for basketball that initially piqued his interest in the footwear category.
"Basketball is my first and only true love. I love it more than I love anything else," Slade told Business Insider in an interview, describing how he noticed early on that the kids who played basketball in his neighborhood generally sported stylish kicks on the court. "And through basketball is where sneakers kind of came into the picture."
Slade initially worked with different publishers to produce sneaker-related content for their platforms, drawing on his own expertise and analysis to produce short segments about shoes. Eventually, Slade started his own YouTube channel in 2013 and became one of just a few "shoetubers" creating content about sneakers and the culture surrounding the industry. His medium of choice — video — made him one of the more unique influencers in the sneaker world at the time, as most people were putting out digital content in the form of articles and blogs.
Companies took note of Slade's expertise and influence and regularly included him in press events and coverage opportunities, which helped solidify Slade's reputation as the go-to person for sneaker content.
As a result, Slade's video's have garnered him millions of views, whether it's an unboxing of a rare pair of sneakers or a tour of Michael Jordan's house in Chicago.
Today, Slade runs his business mostly from home, making his money through three basic streams of revenue. But even with over a million subscribers on YouTube and over 150,000 followers on Instagram, Slade says he views such metrics as mere vanity measures more than anything else. And the influencer is still reluctant to say he's fully "made it" in his career.
"I feel like there's so much more that needs to be done," Slade said. "The voice of the sneaker world is, I think, really small and really just starting to grow, and there are tons and tons of opportunities out there."
From brand deals to his YouTube channel, Slade's sneaker business is versatile and broad. Here's how the Slade utilizes three main revenue steams to conduct his business as one of the most celebrated sneaker influencers today.
SEE ALSO: A 21-year-old student grosses 7 figures in sales a year through his website that secures sneakers for over 50,000 unique customers. Here's a look inside his business.

Slade estimates that 30% of his revenue comes from YouTube



With over 1.25 million subscribers, Slade has a massive audience on YouTube. He estimated that about 30% of his revenue comes from the money he earns on his videos through YouTube's Partner Program, in which Google places advertisements on videos, called AdSense.
The amount of money these ads generate depends on a video's watch time, length, and viewer demographic and is determined by a certain rate for every 1,000 views, or a CPM rate.
While Slade couldn't share the CPM rate's on any specific videos, many of them have racked up millions of views.



Half of his business comes through brand deals and hosting projects



Slade regularly partners with a brand like Nike or Adidas to create content in line with a specific request from the company. Sometimes, that means Slade will get a product, generally sneakers, in advance of a release. Then, he'll usually publish a video featuring the new pair on YouTube, which can either be an unboxing or another type of video. Other times, he might take photos of the product and tout it on his Instagram and Twitter.
"The brand deals can look a bunch of different ways," Slade said.
Slade also partners with different media companies to host different sneaker related shows, which he groups in this category of his revenue stream. Slade has hosted shows on Complex and NBC Sports.



The last 20% of Slade's revenue comes from his consulting work



As an expert in the sneaker content space, it is not rare for brands and content creators to seek out Slade's advice when launching a campaign of their own.
"[It's] just providing feedback and giving information on my take on how I think the best way they can do that to help reach the culture," Slade said regarding the type of consulting work he usually gets hired to do. "Or putting together plans and ideas for activations that I think would help them reach an audience."
Slade also creates music for television and film, which he groups in this revenue category.



Slade doesn't measure success in follower counts or views



Even with all of his success and his massive following on YouTube and social media, Slade says that he measures success based on how he is helping to wipe out stereotypes about sneakers and the people who love them.
"What am I doing to help better the sneaker community, I think is more important than is it to be like, 'Hey, I have a million [subscribers.]'" Slade said. "Tons of people have a million subscribers, but that doesn't make them any more or less qualified to speak to whatever it is they talk about."





Source
:https://www.businessinsider.com/kustoo-business-breakdown-how-a-sneaker-influencer-makes-money-2020-4:



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